“Offer it up to God and put it at the foot of the cross.”
Say that with the same “Jersey” accent as the family matriarch on a dozen TV sit-coms, and you’ll hear Teresa Tomeo saying it like her mother.
“It goes back to the whole thing of surrender. That’s where it has to begin,” said Mrs. Tomeo (teresatomeo.com), motivational speaker, nationally-syndicated Catholic radio host and award-winning author of a dozen books, including Everything’s Coming Up Rosie: 10 Things My Feisty Italian-American Mom Taught Me about Living a Godly Life.
“Offering it up to God, not just once, but every day!” she stated. “That’s our starting point.”
Mrs. Tomeo will be the featured presenter at the Fall 2023 diocesan Women’s Ministry events on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, in Cana Hall at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 2305 W. Main St. in Jefferson City.
The doors for the Friday evening “Ladies Night Out” event will open at 6 p.m., with dinner and a presentation at 6:30 p.m.
The cost for dinner is $25 per person. There will also be a cash bar.
The doors for the daylong retreat on Saturday will open at 9 a.m., with the retreat beginning at 10 a.m.
Morning hospitality will be provided. The cost for lunch will be $15 per person.
The theme for the retreat will be “Defined by God, Sent on Mission, Fortified by the Eucharist.”
“We’ll be focusing on getting excited about the National Eucharistic Congress next year and the whole idea of embracing Jesus and understanding who we are in the eyes of Christ,” said Mrs. Tomeo.
There will also be time for prayer, faith-sharing and learning about other opportunities to grow in relationship with God.
Mrs. Tomeo said the events will be a “a real spiritual shot in the arm and a warm hug from God.”
“It can be truly life-changing,” she stated.
She said it’s time to get back to basics — “getting real with each other, getting real with God, knowing that we’re loved and that God has a plan for each of us.”
She pointed to a scene in the recent box-office bonanza, “Barbie,” in which one of the characters laments at length on how impossible it is for women to live up to all of society’s expectations.
“That’s the world we live in,” Mrs. Tomeo noted. “You have to keep proving yourself again and again ... which is very different from how God sees you.
“God loves you right where you’re at!” she said. “Women need to understand that they are incredibly dignified and beautiful, and God has an incredible life that he wants to give you.”
“Let’s get busy”
Mrs. Tomeo is the host of a syndicated daily radio show, “Catholic Connections” on the EWTN Global Catholic Network.
She speaks and writes extensively on issues pertaining to Catholicism, especially in the media and how they relate to women.
She’ll share personal testimony about how she and her husband, Deacon Dominick Pastore, strayed away from the Church but ultimately returned.
“If people feel no hope, they should come hear my story and the story of our marriage being saved,” she said. “We were quite broken. If God can turn our lives around, they can do it for anyone.”
She’s convinced that these Women’s Ministry events will be well worth making time for.
“This will be an opportunity to meet Christ in a different way and share him with fellow sisters in Christ,” she said.
She pointed to what the U.S. surgeon general recently identified as “an epidemic of loneliness.”
“The world can be very overwhelming at times, whether you’re looking at issues facing the Church, or family issues or just with people dealing with loneliness,” Mrs. Tomeo stated.
The Oct. 6 and 7 events will offer fellowship and plenty of laughter — even if through tears.
“We do need to be aware of the sad things in the world,” Mrs. Tomeo noted. “But we can’t spend our whole time on the negative.”
“This will be a fun, uplifting, joy-filled day — and informative, as well,” she said.
Her mission as a speaker and evangelizer is clear: “I want every woman in the place to leave with this on their minds and hearts: ‘God loves you, he has a plan for you, the Eucharist is everything, and let’s get busy about being Eucharistic Christians, intentional Christians,’” she stated.
Mrs. Tomeo invites women throughout this diocese to stop and consider how long it’s been since they did something out of the ordinary to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus and the Church.
“When was the last time you set aside a whole day just for you and God?” she asked. “When was the last time you really took time to be with other women and be with Christ and share the faith?”
She talked about the importance of spending time with faith-filled friends.
“Fellowship and companionship are huge,” she said, pointing to a recent study that showed how just saying “hello” to neighbors every day offers positive health benefits.
“Even spending time with women you disagree with can be helpful,” she noted. “That’s when we often learn the most — when we’re honestly challenged, when people ask us questions.”
As she prepares to visit Missouri, Mrs. Tomeo asks for prayers for the Holy Spirit to speak through her, “and that he’ll be able to use me to touch the hearts of the women and help them find out what God wants for them, for their domestic Church and for the world.”
Visit diojeffcity.org/womens-ministry-upcoming-events to register for both events.